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10
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2answers
2k views

Where does electricity go from a solar panel that is not plugged in to anything?

I found a similar question here on this site, but my question is slightly different. If a solar panel is exposed to sunlight but is not plugged in to anything--dc load, inverter, etc--where does that ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Where does the electricity, generated by a solar panel, go if you don't use the electricity?

I'm sorry if this question is too trivial for this Q&A forum. I am a layman when it comes to physics (though I did cover the high-school physics courses). I was wondering what happens to the ...
9
votes
1answer
214 views

Will the upcoming solar eclipse stress the European electrical grid?

From an article in the Financial Times today, about a solar eclipse on March 20th, 2015: An eclipse of the sun next month could disrupt Europe’s power supplies because so many countries now use ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is plant photosynthesis more efficient than solar panels?

Is photosynthesis more efficient than solar panels? If so, by how much?
5
votes
1answer
697 views

What is the most efficient Organic Photovoltaic solar cell?

Preferably one that is researched in a paper, not necessarily in production. I have found various claims of OPVs with an efficiency of 10%, 8% and 7.3%, the only one I can substantiate is referenced ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does a window layer is on top of the absorber layer in solar cells and not below it?

In solar cells there is a p-n junction. P-type semiconductor (for example CdTe) is often absorber layer because of its carrier lifetime and mobilities. In case of CdS/CdTe, CdS is n-type window layer ...
4
votes
2answers
219 views

How much solar energy hits a rooftop in Israel?

I was asked to today about the available plans (in Israel) to install photo-voltaic receptors on the roof and sell the energy. This is a legitimate plan and there are several companies that do this. ...
4
votes
3answers
290 views

How far from the Sun is a photovoltaic effective?

Just what the title states. Photovoltaic cells convert incident light to electricity; this probably means they create less electricity when it is dark - as in deep space. How far can a solar cell ...
4
votes
2answers
408 views

Why aren't solar panels efficient?

Why can't solar panels produce 1 Kw per 1 square meter? This is the energy of the Sun's radiation per square meter on Earth but solar panels don't come close. Why can't we trap all that energy? ...
4
votes
3answers
190 views

How does temperature affect photovoltaics (PV) efficiency?

I know that photovoltaic panels are more efficient at lower temperatures: As the temperature increases, the output voltage decreases. I am looking for an explanation of the mechanism behind this ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Photomagnetic effect

I just saw an article on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photomagnetic_effect "This article appears to contain unverifiable speculation and unjustified claims. Information must be verifiable ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What is injection level (semiconductor physics)?

I am currently reading journal articles about semiconductor physics in solar cells. What is injection level? I'll try to start off with what I understand. Photons hitting the silicon cause its ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Would it be possible to build a Solar Panel Etalon?

Since, on average, 1/3 of all sunlight that hits a solar panel is reflected, wouldn't it be possible to set up some kind of etalon system where the reflected light is then absorbed by another solar ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

In solar cells, do photons break apart electron-hole pairs, or create them?

Some sources say that when a photon hits the PV cell, it breaks apart electron-hole pairs. Other sources say that photons create electron-hole pairs. Can anyone explain which one is right? I've read ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Given mean insolation, can one place an upper bound on the daily peak insolation?

Photovoltaic panels are rated under standard conditions: eg a $100\mathrm{W}$ panel if irradiated with $1000\mathrm{W}/\mathrm{m}^2$ at $25^\circ\mathrm{C}$. When the cost effectiveness of ...
3
votes
0answers
119 views

“Single-shot” Heat engine efficiency limits

The sun is 5778K and Earth is ~290K. Using the sun as the hot reservoir and earth as a cold reservoir we get 95% Carnot efficiency. However, the solar power efficiency limit is only 86%, see: ...
3
votes
1answer
209 views

Confused about charge seperation in solar cells

I'm a bit confused about how solar cells work. My understanding is that there is a p-n junction. A photon is absorbed which creates an electron-hole pair, and the idea is to separate the electron ...
2
votes
2answers
171 views

By what maximum amount can we concentrate sunlight?

This refers to a previous question re: Solar Cell Systems and as part of the answer the statement: If we concentrated sunlight to [the] maximum amount 42600× was given. My questions are: By what ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic power cells

Given that solar cells use one or more semiconductor materials to convert light to electricity, and that the efficiency of that conversion is dependent on the material and the wavelength of the light, ...
2
votes
4answers
901 views

Easy to understand equivalents for energy (kilowatt-hour)

Is there a database/webpage/other source for obtaining simple, easy to understand and meaningful equivalents for converted energy by a photovoltaic-site (Wh/kWh/MWh/GWh)? Something like "xxxkWh equals ...
2
votes
1answer
524 views

Why is honeycomb lattice the ideal shape for solar cells?

Quoting this web site (which I haven't thoroughly verified for credibility yet): The material is graphene, also known as graphite, a naturally-occurring mineral that forms a one-atom-thick ...
2
votes
3answers
220 views

Why are solar panels blue, rather than black, when black absorbs more light?

This is an image of a solar panel array, courtesy of Wikipedia. Some of these look rather black, but most of them are blue. As far as I know, solar panels work by absorbing "light energy", and ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Rare earth minerals in solarcell production

When I was looking at photovoltaic solar cell production I saw that there was some difficulty with rare earth minerals used in the production but i can't find which rare earth minerals. I have tried ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

How absorption coefficient determines which material is used to make solar cells?

Does the knowledge of the material absorption coefficients aids engineers in determining which material to use in their solar cell designs? If yes, how?
1
vote
2answers
96 views

How can a photon have energy when its mass is zero? [duplicate]

How can a photon have energy when its mass is zero? According to Einstein's equation $E = mc^2$ energy depends on $mass*c^2$ Light has zero mass so the energy would be zero too but solar cells use ...
1
vote
2answers
394 views

PV cell for invisible spectrum only

Is it possible to make a photovoltaic cell that would only absorb the invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, while letting visible light pass through or bounce off its surface? I guess that ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Why does solar cell will create as a Multiple cells instead of one large cell area?

Why is a solar module assembled from multiple cells instead of one large cell area?
1
vote
1answer
495 views

Solar panel maximum efficiency at specific frequency and temperature?

I talked to a professor about solar panels and their efficiency. It seemed that the main reason solar panels aren't that efficient is because it can only accept a single energy input size. Anything ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Photovoltaic IV data

I am looking for any available measured solar-cell datasets (Voltage/Current) especially for organic photovoltaic cells for the testing of a software unfortunately I am unable to get the measured ...
1
vote
2answers
841 views

In the diode equation, why the exponential $\exp$ and the ideality factor $n$ are there? What do they represent & what is their significance?

In the Shockley diode equation, why the exponential $\exp$ and the ideality factor $n$ are there? What do they represent & what is their significance? I have to work on Solar Photovoltaics, and ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

How much energy does a PV cell need to work?

How much energy does a $1m^2$ photovolatic/solar cell need to work? Can it work using a bunch of Laser lights? Edit: Ok so this PV cell is $1m^2$ is dimesions. The N-type has silicon doped with ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What happens to solar cells in water (or in anything other than air)?

Suppose there is a solar cell with light of a single wavelength shining on it (through air) and that this wavelength is optimal for the cell, meaning that it is converted to electricity with the ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

What is DX technology and what are the effects on digital cameras?

I am photographing in a high power voltage field in Industry producing aluminium, called DX technology. How do I know if my digital camera will not be affected? At 350kA current my film cameras were ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Contact electricity and photoelectric effect

Most universities provide an experiment about the photoelectric effect to determine $h$ by measuring the stop voltage against the light frequency and calculating the slope $h/e$. But mostly they also ...
0
votes
2answers
197 views

Is a photovoltaic cell on an artificial satellite the same construction as one used on Earth's surface?

Are photovoltaic cell arrays on a satellite the same that are used within Earth, or is there some difference in their construction given the differing environment in which they are to operate? Does ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

What is considered 100% efficiency when talking about photovoltaic cells?

I was reading this article in Popular Science and figured that I actually don't know what is considered 100% efficiency. Is it when every photon that hits the cell kicks out an electron that is ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Would it be efficient to run a solar panel with laser?

Would it be efficient to run a solar panel with laser? I know this question is unsual as we are using electricity powered laser to run a solar panel. Actually i am paricipating in the Google Science ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Can a solar panel work with heat?

As we know that a solar panels due to the energy of light, but can we run a solar panel with the same amount of energy provided as heat?
0
votes
1answer
74 views

How do solar panels generate infinite electricity?

We know that solar cells generate electricity utilizing the energy of the photon, but how can they generate electricity forever? In a n-type terminal we have the bond of silicon and phosphorous so ...
0
votes
1answer
353 views

Is it feasible to convert the energy of gamma-photons from gamma-emitting nuclear isomers into electrical power?

It is known that gamma rays emitted by nuclear isomers, naturally occurring or manufactured, carry huge amounts of energy. Co-60 for example decays into the isomeric state of Ni-60 by $\beta ^-$ ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

How does a photon drive out the electrons in a solar cell?

We know that solar cells work when a photon hits the n-type the photon's energy drives free the electrons in the n-type to generate a current. But we also know that when a photon hits the atoms it ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

How can silicon have a capacity of 8 electrons in the outer shell?

I was reading an article on how solar cells work in this website- http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-cell2.htm In that website I have a doubt in the first paragraph i.e.- ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Does reflected light change LED power consumption?

If I enclose an LED in "tin foil" so that the photons it gives off are reflected back to it, would the power consumed by the LED go down?